Notgeld (Emergency money) - zinc 50 pfennig, 1917, Fulda, Germany. 24mm, 3.2 grams.
Notgeld (German for "emergency money" or "necessity money") refers to money issued in a time of economic or political crisis. The issuing institution is usually one without official sanction from the central government. This occurs usually when sufficient state-produced money is not available from the central bank. Most notably, notgeld generally refers to money (coins and paper money) produced in Germany and Austria during World War I and in the years before the stabilization of currency in 1923. Issuing institutions could be a town's savings banks, municipality and private or state-owned firms.The first large issue of Notgeld started at the outbreak of World War I. Numerous paper notes were made by hundreds of different authorities, many of dubious reliability. Coins were made as well, mostly of cheap metals (zinc, aluminum and iron) but also of porcelain, leather and even pressed coal.